For anyone who was following the Flyers while Danny Briere was a staple on the team, it’s no secret how well he performed when it mattered most. Danny Briere was easily one of the best scorers in Flyers’ playoff history, and was even considered the best in NHL history.
Briere’s playoff reputation started to develop after the lockout, during the 2005-06 season with the Buffalo Sabres. Buffalo had failed to make the playoffs in the three seasons before the lockout, but the rejuvenated squad reached Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final before being ousted by the eventual champion Carolina Hurricanes. Briere led the team with 19 points in 18 games, including two game-winning goals.
The following seasons, Briere would play in the playoffs with both Buffalo and Philadelphia, where he totaled 31 playoff points in 33 games. This man quickly became a playoff machine. During a quick six-game first-round loss in 2009, Briere still managed four points. The following season is where the magic happened.
2010 Danny Briere was a different breed. In 23 games during the Stanley Cup finals run, he totaled 30 points. His 12 goals and 18 assists combined to lead the entire NHL in playoff points. After a handful of more seasons between Philly and Montreal, Briere ended with 116 playoff points in 124 games. His 0.94 points per game average would up sitting among some of the best players of all time. The best part of this, though, is that his playoff points-per-game average is nearly 20 ticks better than his career regular-season average of .715.
The Flyers have a few players that come to mind that fit the Danny Briere mold. The short, speedy guy who served as a pest is key in the playoffs. Forechecking is huge, and the three candidates below serve as killer forecheckers. None of these guys may do Briere’s patented celebration, but could they become the playoff machine Briere became?
#3- Nic Aube-Kubel
Nic Aube-Kubel is a prime example of a Danny Briere. He is easily the best forechecker on the Flyers’ roster, as his speed allows him to fly around the ice. NAK was training hard during the quarantine break, contributing to his success during the return. He is proving to Flyers’ fans how critical he will be to their success. Excluding his rookie season, where Dave Hakstol refused to give him a quality chance in the big leagues, NAK has produced 15 points in 36 games on the Flyers’ fourth line. His regular-season numbers may not scream playoff star. However, in his first stint in the playoffs, NAK scored a pair of goals to help propel the Flyers past the Lightning to claim the first seed.
NAK sits at number three on this list, as being on the fourth line hinders some of his production opportunities compared to the next two candidates.
#2- Travis Konecny
Travis Konecny could nearly be Danny Briere’s identical twin. Both of these guys are the “short” one on the ice, with Briere sitting at 5’9 and TK at 5’10. And get this, both of these guys each weigh 174 pounds. While on the ice, Konecny could pass as Briere to the blind eye. Konecny obviously also brings that competitive and speedy edge to the Flyers. Even when he isn’t producing on the score sheet, TK always manages to chirp his way into the heads of his opponent.
TK is the best offensive player on this list. After three seasons of trying to get his footing, Konecny brought in 61 points in 66 games this season. This, obviously, is much better than averaging slightly under a point every-other-game in his previous seasons. He recorded a pair of assists in the four playoff games this season, bringing his total to three in ten career playoff appearances. He may not scream Danny Briere playoff-caliber yet, but he has a huge opportunity to seize that title.
#1- Scott Laughton
Scott Laughton has already shown signs of peaking at the right time. Laughton may not “wow” us during the regular season, only producing a .330 points per game average for his career. In the playoffs, however, Laughton now has six points (four goals, two assists) in his 13 career playoff points. This season, Laughton has fit right in with linemates Travis Konecny and Kevin Hayes. Along with being that pesky forechecker and modest “enforcer,” Laughton has scored three goals and two assists already in these playoffs.
Laughton may hold the best chances of being “Danny Briere,” with 2019-2020 being Briere’s 2005-2006 season.
Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports